Alumna Dr Elizabeth Boulton addresses the ‘hyperthreat’ of climate change #ClimateCrisis #EcologicalCrisis

“I am here, in good will, to challenge thinking and pioneer new thought.” 

UNSW Canberra alumna Dr Elizabeth Boulton has always enjoyed a challenge and continues to confront the security issues of today.

Graduating with an Honours degree in Literature in 1994, and a Master of Business Management in 2001, Dr Boulton relished both the physical and intellectual challenges of her time at UNSW Canberra.

“It was a privilege to receive military training, I have found it so applicable to other work environments and problems. The older I get, the more I see how much wisdom is in some of those fundamental teachings, such as the principles of leadership,” she said.

Having completed her PhD at the Australian National University on the topic ‘Climate and Environmental Change: Time to reframe threat?’, and disillusioned with past approaches to security strategies, Dr Boulton is now leading the way with a plan to fight the primary threat to our planet, referred to as the ‘hyperthreat’.

McGuire, an emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, says that this is only the beginning. We have — for far too long — disregarded unequivocal warnings that rising carbon emissions are gravely warming the Earth, as he makes clear in his harsh description of the impending climate catastrophe. Now, that we have become complacent, we will pay for it with storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves that will easily transcend the extremes of the past.He contends that the most important issue is that there is no longer any way for us to prevent a dangerous, all-pervasive climatic breakdown. A future where deadly heatwaves and temperatures above 50ºC (120ºF) are common in the tropics, where summers at temperate latitudes will always be scorching hot, and where our oceans are doomed to become heated and acidic is what we may expect now that we have crossed the point of no return. According to McGuire, “A child born in 2020 will face a far more hostile world than its grandparents did.”

HotHouse Earth

“I can’t believe we face the destruction of planetary life and yet there is no effective plan in place,” Dr Boulton said. 

Shocked that there was no security plan addressing the growing threat of climate and environmental change, Dr Boulton published An Introduction to Plan E, in partnership with the US Marine Corps University.

“Plan E is a climate-eco centred security strategy where ‘E’ stands for Earth, Emergency, Everyone, Everything and Everywhere.

“It is Phase one – the planning and preparatory period – of a longer six-phase mission, which will unfold over 80 years. It is a concept of operations, a grand strategy for how humanity can contain the hyperthreat of climate and environmental change,” Dr Boulton said. 

“What’s unique about Plan E is that it positions climate and environmental change – the hyperthreat – as the main threat, not a threat multiplier.” 

Dr Boulton believes the current threat posture is incoherent and that the security sector needs to think deeply about fundamental justification when approaching critical threat to the Earth. 

“What will we – the security sector – do as the hyperthreat vanguard arrives, and starts its preliminary attacks? Simply adopt a passive, reactive stance and help clean up the mess? Or will the security pivot and help humanity fight the most complex threat it has even known?” Dr Boulton questioned.  

“It is an uncomfortable intellectual journey to embark upon, but I think we owe it to the public to explore all options.” 

Dr Boulton will join the Conflict and Society Research Group in an upcoming seminar to delve further into the insights and ideas within Plan E. 

The webinar will take place on Wednesday, 3 August. Registrations are now open.

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